EASTENDERS star James Bye hinted he could do Strictly Come Dancing two years ago.
Speaking to Lorraine back in 2020, he said: “Would I consider [Strictly] yeah, my friend Davood did it but I’m not as fit as he is. I’ve got rickety old knees, it looks fun.”
Today, the 38-year-old was the 14th and final contestant confirmed for the upcoming 20th series of Strictly.
The actor was unveiled live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain outside the BBC soap’s fictional Walford East tube station.
He admitted he had known for “quite a long time” but the news had “still not really sunk in” and that he was “really nervous”.
Speaking about his wife Victoria, he added: “She is really supportive. She is always really supportive of everything I do.
“We talked it all through. It is a decision we have made together.
“I think she is going to be part of the team. I think she is going to teach me more than the dancers, to be honest. She knows what she is doing.”
He also reflected on the advice fellow EastEnders actor Jake Wood had offered him, after he appeared on the show in 2014.
“He has been really helpful,” he said.
“He has given me some key pointers for when it is really hard, when it kicks in. A lot of eating, keeping relaxed when you can.
“‘Just enjoy it ‘was the main thing. Just go and have the best time you can.”
After the news was announced, James said in a statement: “I’m not known for my shimmy or my twinkle toes – in fact, my kids regularly laugh at my dad dancing, but it’s an honour to be asked and I’m going to give it my best shot.
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“There are some huge dance shoes to fill and it’s truly exciting to follow in the footsteps of some amazing EastEnders talent. I’d love to do everyone proud.”
He joins a line-up that includes singer Fleur East, Ted Lasso star Ellie Taylor, Bros singer Matt Goss, Kiss radio host Tyler West, Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh and more.
The last series of Strictly was won by fellow EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis with professional partner Giovanni Pernice.